Hunger strike off after 80% of demands met

After considerable negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) security apparatus, and Israel's domestic intelligence agency the Shin Bet, a deal was reached on ending the mass hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails on the eve of Ramadan.

But he did not specify any agreements with the Israeli authorities.

Imprisoned strike organizer Marwan Barghouti, he said, cynically exploited his fellow prisoners to boost his standing in Fatah and promote his position as a possible successor to PA head Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement called the strike an "important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners".

According to Qaraqe, Israel agreed to place all female prisoners in Hasharon prison, and give them better conditions. He adds that they used to have two monthly family visits, with one financed by the International Red Cross.

Erdan accused Barghouti of being a "murderer and hypocrite who urged his fellow prisoners to strike and suffer while he ate behind their back...he lied to the Palestinian public when he claimed to be striking".

According to the prison service, almost 1600 Palestinian prisoners participated at one time or another during the strike.

It is not yet clear whether other demands by prisoners were addressed under the agreement.

There are now 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel, including more than 500 administrative detainees, according to Jerusalem-based prisoner rights group Addameer. The hunger strikers explain that they achieved their goal, and they can thereby, halt the strike.

Israel has all along refused to negotiate with the prisoners, noting that many were convicted terrorists and their conditions were in line with accepted norms. Barghouti is serving five life sentences for murders committed during the second Palestinian intifada.

The hunger strike was initiated by Barghouti, a prominent Fatah terrorist and political figure on April 17. Israel said the number was closer to 800. This included the leader of the strike, Marwan Barghouti, who was captured on video secretly snacking on Israeli candy in his cell bathroom.

  • Leroy Wright